An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Martin of Tours

(c. 330-Nov. 11, 397). The primary molder of Frankish Christianity and one of the patron saints of France. He was born in Sabaria, the modern Szombathely, in Hungary. After serving in the military, he came under the influence of Hilary of Poitiers. He became a defender of Nicene orthodoxy against the Arians. Around 370 he gathered a group of monks at Poitiers and established what was probably the first monastery in the west. In 372 he was elected Bishop of Tours and established a second monastery at Marmoutier. Martin was renowned as a miracle worker, a missionary, and a doer of good deeds. The most famous story about him is that while he was a catechumen and young soldier, a poor man without clothes encountered him on a cold winter day. Martin cut his cloak in two and gave half of it to the beggar. The next night Christ appeared to Martin in the half cloak and said to the attendant angels, “Martin, a simple catechumen, gave me this cloak.” He is commemorated in the Episcopal calendar of the church year on Nov. 11.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.